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Columnist: NHL doesn’t have PED problem

Jul 28, 2013, 2:55 PM EDT

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All the talk of late in Major League Baseball has centered around the latest performance enhancing drug scandal. Larry Brooks of the New York Post reminds us that the NHL doesn’t have to worry about such issues.

In his column today, Brooks says there’s no reason to think the NHL will have such off-ice distractions and there are two particular reasons why.

But even if NHL testing procedures previously have left holes to exploit, the league’s participation in international events such as the Olympics and World Championships are the best guard against the use of PEDs in the sport.

Drug testing for international competition is as stringent as it gets. Hockey players wanting to represent their country apparently won’t take chances ruining that opportunity or inviting criticism on themselves by using PEDs.

Adding to that, the NHL and NHLPA cracked down on drug testing following the 2004-05 lockout. Since then, just one NHL player (Sean Hill then of the New York Islanders) tested positive for PEDs and that was in 2007. Jose Theodore was busted in 2006 testing positive for a substance that could’ve been used to mask PED usage but was excused.

As Brooks notes, however, PEDs aren’t the NHL’s main concern when it comes to drugs. Instead, it’s pain killers and that’s another story for another time.

  1. mrpinkca - Jul 28, 2013 at 3:02 PM

    Ahh yes, because no Olympic athlete has ever used PED’s…

    Just because players in the NHL use them for different things (certain steroids help you heal faster, and the NHL doesn’t test injured players) doesn’t mean they’re not using them.

    • somekat - Jul 28, 2013 at 3:14 PM

      I was under the impression players were tested once they come off the IR? Could be wrong

      It’s not like it’s unheard of for an Olympic athlete to get caught cheating (certain countries specialize in it, lookin at you china), but it’s also common place for Olympic athletes to get caught and punished for PED’s that aren’t even on any of the 4 big US sports radar yet.

      To say they don’t have a problem because of taking part in those events is ridiculous. To say they have less of a chance of a problem because they take part in those event makes perfect sense though.

      Especially when you consider the percentage of NHL player that take part in international events. I don’t have the numbers in front of me, but I’d say at least 85% of the NBA is from the USA. So 80% of the league KNOWS they have no chance to play for team USA, so they don’t care about what they may test for. I’d be willing to bet 50% of the NHL at least hopes to play for their national team. Most of the Euro countries sport teams that are at least half way filled with NHL player. Even if they aren’t stars, they might be 3rd or 4th liners in the NHL, or fringe AHL guys, but they are still guys in the player pool

    • endusersolutions2013 - Jul 28, 2013 at 11:49 PM

      Is there a reliable test for HGH? It would also be used in an injury recovery situation.

  2. somekat - Jul 28, 2013 at 3:06 PM

    Pain killers are always going to be there. The human body literally can now work effectively with some of the injuries they are expected to play through, especially in the playoffs. But for every benefit that pain killers have, there is a negative as far as loss of reaction and clear mindedness (I don’t want to use the word “focus”, because it’s pretty hard to focus while in constant pain anyway).

    The only way the pain killer problem goes away is if plays are encouraged to sit out while hurt (not going to happen), and/or the rules are changed to make it easier to bring up/send down replacement players without the risk of losing them to another team (doubt the union lets that happen)

    • somekat - Jul 28, 2013 at 3:07 PM

      **can not work effectively**

  3. ballistictrajectory - Jul 28, 2013 at 3:12 PM

    File this under Famous Last Words…

  4. blomfeld - Jul 28, 2013 at 3:31 PM

    AND WE NHL FANS CONCUR ! :) :) :)

    This is ‘exactly’ why the NHL is the absolute ‘best & greatest’ professional sports league in the world today! … and this is ‘exactly’ the reason why I’m so proud to call myself a fan! Unlike the majority of other sports leagues around today, such as MLB & NBA which are ‘infested’ with pill poppers and drug addicts, our NHL and it’s upstanding players continue to do ‘that’ which is right, by seeking glory and excellence via the ‘old fashioned’ way with hard work and dedication … not via this lazy ‘new-age’ way of always ‘furtively’ seeking an inside edge via any means available, be it legal or not.

    TAKE A BOW NHL ! … YOU DESERVE TO BE PROUD !!! :) :) :) :) :)

    • dmgkm - Jul 28, 2013 at 6:45 PM

      maybe by the sound of your post, you need to be drug tested. you sound like a high school cheerleader. NHL and every sport has abusers, whether it’s these pills your talking about or HGH. it’s everywhere.

  5. leepetertk - Jul 28, 2013 at 3:55 PM

    I have no reason to believe that PED usage in the NHL is anywhere near as bad as MLB. However, I think for the validity of the sport, the NHL and NHLPA should submit to a more intense drug policy and program. It only takes one star player to make this a huge story. I was really disappointed in the NHL and NHLPA for not instituting a wider drug testing program in 2005, at the height of the baseball scandals, and this year.

    If I were the NHL/NHPA, it is better to be safe than sorry.

  6. proudliberal85392 - Jul 28, 2013 at 5:49 PM

    blomfeld, your comments ^^^^ are dead on correct! You’ve stated your point eloquently and intelligently. This is why I’m honored to call you “distinguished colleague.”

    • blomfeld - Jul 28, 2013 at 9:58 PM

      Au contraire my friend … the honor is mine ! :)

      Proudliberal # 85392 – Thanks for your kind words and may God bless you, as you obviously concur with that which I believe to be true … our NHL is the very ‘best of the best’ when it comes to ‘decency’ and doing the ‘right thing’ among professional sports associations today. Anyway, I’ve gotta level with you man, as most of my stuff here at PHT is meant to be taken in the spirit of ‘good times’ and nothing more. I say that because with all kidding aside, I’m actually pulling for you Coyotes to hang in there and make a go of it … and you will, God willing ! :)

      Mister Speaker … the Phoenix Coyotes most ‘revered’ fan … Proud Liberal # 85392 !

      • girouxed - Jul 29, 2013 at 12:00 PM

        Your comments are goofy as hell.

  7. skarfacci - Jul 28, 2013 at 6:40 PM

    We’ll see. Honestly, who cares if they do use PEDs? They’re big boys, they know the ramifications. They should still test and suspend, but it’s really not like a big deal.

  8. jacketsfan7 - Jul 28, 2013 at 8:34 PM

    Isn’t this how Boogaard died? That’s my real concern

    • budvw14 - Jul 29, 2013 at 10:16 AM

      No. Boogie died of an accidental overdose on pain killers mixed with alcohol, not performance enhancing drugs.

  9. jimw81 - Jul 29, 2013 at 2:23 AM

    HGH is the bigger problem in sports today.

  10. vgirshman - Jul 29, 2013 at 9:06 AM

    All sports fans check out for all your sports news, videos, blogs, highlights, injury reports, Huge prize giveaways, and fantasy. FREE TO JOIN!!

  11. joeyg88 - Jul 29, 2013 at 4:51 PM

    Baseball should allow steroids, id actually buy a ticket if it happened

  12. mknow406a - Jul 31, 2013 at 12:05 AM

    Right… no PEDs. Unless things have changed significantly in the past 10-15 years when I played junior hockey, this guy is completely delusional. Guys willing volunteer to be himan punching bags just to get a shot at the “N”. Sure, maybe Lidstrom didn’t take’em, but I bet the majority of 3rd and 4th liners do. The “whatever it take to make the Big Show” mentality prevails… and probably always will. Especially when your career choices are do PEDs and hope to make the NHL, or pump gas in Moose Jaw or Saskatoon for the rest of your life. Here’s a little reminder of how things were not too long ago…

Top 10 NHL Player Searches
  1. P. Kessel (1696)
  2. P. Kane (1317)
  3. S. Matthias (1178)
  4. D. Carcillo (1066)
  5. C. Ehrhoff (1045)